Jury out on wisdom of rule changes

David Coulthard labelled the new rules in Formula One "ridiculous", Jenson Button was also scathing, and as the season kicked off in Melbourne at the weekend they were not alone in their opinions.

David Coulthard labelled the new rules in Formula One "ridiculous", Jenson Button was also scathing, and as the season kicked off in Melbourne at the weekend they were not alone in their opinions.

The new qualifying system, with one session on Saturday afternoon and a second on Sunday morning, the aggregated times deciding the grid, provoked a mixed response.

Saturday's session calls for teams to run flat-out with low fuel loads, so everyone gets a sense of where they fit in on sheer speed. On Sunday they run with their race fuel, so again everyone gets a reasonable idea of the strategy rivals are planning.

The changeable Melbourne weather on Saturday created an unusual grid, which helped determine the race outcome - Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella won with Michael Schumacher an also-ran. But it also rendered Sunday's session academic since the gaps between drivers were so large. More evidence is needed before judgement can be made on the qualifying changes.

Then there is the rule that says teams must use the same engine for two race weekends. At least, that is what it should say, but this is Formula One. If an engine has to be changed before the race, the driver will be penalised 10 grid places, as happened to Michael Schumacher and Takuma Sato in Melbourne. But if an engine breaks during a race, it may be replaced without penalty.

In a ludicrous "refinement", team principals agreed on Sunday morning that you did not actually have to break an engine in the race to instal a new one for next time. Say you had the awful race BAR-Honda had, when Jenson Button and Takuma Sato had no chance of points, you could call in your drivers in the closing laps, and still be classified as finishers. "The two-weekend engine rule is to cut teams' operating costs," one observer said, "and penalise unreliability. This seems an odd way of doing that."

Felipe Massa thinks the characteristics of Malaysia's Sepang track will promote "a lot more overtaking" in the next grand prix on 20 March. Let us hope so. The jury is out, but the verdict is likely to be that Formuala One's powerbrokers have a lot more tweaking to do.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit